One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
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- Silicon Valley’s ‘News’ Services: Bad News for Less Government Everywhere - August 15, 2017
- Revolutionary Vote Security – If Government Will Allow - August 10, 2017
Some in government are yet again using a tiny private sector problem to allegedly justify a massive government private sector invasion. Proposed is a huge government hammer. To obliterate – a gnat.
The gnat in question is the “patent troll” – a term the Theft Coalition loves (and likely coined). Theft Coalition? These are people who steal intellectual property – and are now looking to have government legalize their heists.
Ahh Google – an absolutely massive member of the Theft Coalition.
- Admitted Pattern of Promoting Online Piracy
- Anti-Competitive Pattern of Book Theft
- Willful Pattern of Promoting YouTube Video Theft
- Willful Pattern of Android Property Infringement
- Anti-Competitive Pattern of Stealing Competitors’ Signature Patented-Innovations
- Extensive Pattern of Content Theft
- Extensive Pattern of Trademark Theft
- Pattern of Stealing Contact Lists
And – shocker – a “patent troll” isn’t at all what the Theft Coalition claims it to be.
(W)hat exactly is a “patent troll?” He or she is someone who owns a patent – which is private property. And is trying to protect their private property from unauthorized use by someone who doesn’t want to pay to use it.
Is someone who owns a house and calls the police to roust squatters a “property troll?” Is someone who reports their car stolen an “automobile troll?”
The proposed huge government hammer? The woefully misnamed “Innovation Act.” Which eviscerates the ability of patent holders – property owners, many of them Little Guys – to protect themselves from the the Theft Coalition.
Rarely do small inventors and business owners go to such great lengths to lobby Washington lawmakers, but new patent legislation is proving to be so controversial that small innovators across the country are banding together to form a new lobbying voice….
Some small-scale innovators say that the legislation only helps big companies like Google and Apple, and argue that provisions in the bill make it so difficult for innovators to protect their patents that it actually stifles American innovation….
(C)ritics of the legislation warn it goes too far, targeting just a small number of abusers while raising the costs for legitimate patent holders to protect their legal rights under long-established law.
“A small number of abusers” – the gnats in question. Rather than a legislative hammer – how about a gnat-swatter?
The bill attempts compromise on the controversial fee shifting proposal of the House bill (major sticking point) by creating and “objectively unreasonable standard” for such an award as opposed to the loser-pays presumption of the House Bill. This would keep the determination in control of the judiciary, as it should be. Other key issues addressed include enhanced pleading requirements for patent suits, discovery changes, stays of customer suits, and provision to reign in abusive demand letters.
A size-appropriate response to the problem – that is beginning to win the day in D.C.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte is floating potential changes to his sweeping patent reform package, the Innovation Act….
The tweaks appear to bring the Innovation Act closer to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s PATENT Act.
Here’s a thought: Rather than taking even more time to contemplate perhaps making your hammer look more like the gnat-swatter – why not just pass the gnat-swatter?
The government moves at a glacier-esque pace in the least terrible of circumstances. And when government is moving – the private sector is frozen in amber. Awaiting the legislative and regulatory anvils to stop falling before they can again move forward.
The Patent World – including all its innovators – has been frozen. Awaiting resolution of this governmental foray into “fixing” it.
Let’s stop with the huge government hammers – and the attempts to make the hammers look more like gnat-swatters.
Let’s just pass the gnat-swatter – and let the private sector get back to actually improving our lives.